Friday, February 4, 2011

8 Questions with Christian Quarles - Metro’s VP of Marketing

Metro’s Vice President of Marketing, Christian Quarles, had a lecture for the Digital Media students at Hyper Island. The free newspaper Metro launched in 1995 is a great and appreciated idea availble in many parts of the world today. It’s an interesting industry with some potential challenges ahead. We asked Christian 8 short questions:

Hi! Please introduce yourself briefly to our readers.

Private: married since 1996 with one teenager daughter. Love to travel to get new experiences and meet new people.
Business: Worked in the media industry for the last 15 years,TV and newspapers, with marketing, sales and business development.

What's your story?

I am a creative, passionate person with a big drive to explore new ways how to solve problems and challenges. Curiosity and interest in people is something that helps me to find the right answers and new ideas.

Was there an "aha" moment where you realized you wanted to work in the press industry?

Nope, I sort of slipped into the industry of media by accident. I'm happy I did because it is a very exciting industry.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

A guy I met in 1995 who taught me about creative sales - how to do business in a completely different way in the media industry. I still use his "technique" today. But, I must say that the most inspiration I get is from the meetings I have with my colleagues every day. They are a huge inspiration and extremely fun!

The press industry has some challenges with reading devices/tablets such as iPad. There is constant discussion about a paradigm shift soon to happen on the same level as for the music and movie industry. Do you think these devices will ever substitute traditional print or will there always be demand for physical newspapers?

Interesting question and ongoing debate, but what people forget is that the pioneers of developing digital media is also the newspapers. Digital media is perfect for newspapers - news content (words, photos, video etc) works perfectly on the web, mobile, iPad etc. On the top ranked websites around the world you will find newspapers. What happens is that newspaper companies turns into media companies by developing a wide range of new media products, like we do. So, will the papers survive? In a 10 years perspective I'm convinced people still will read newspapers with emphasise on the free ones.

Continuing on the topic in the previous question - Where do you see Metro and print news next year, and in 2015? Do you have plans at Metro to deal with the potential increase in people shifting to reading news on their reading devices?

During the last few years, we have invested a lot of resources to improve the quality of the news content in Metro - make sure our readers like and want to read the paper everyday and have a positive brand preference for Metro. With a powerful brand and strong financial conditions we are planning and investing a lot of resources in digital media. Our objective for 2011 is to launch a number of new digital products and services in all our markets.
In 2015 our target is to have at least 25% of the revenue coming from digital media. If our target audience don't want to read the paper our responsibility is to make sure they like our digital versions.

If you would give one great advice to people interested in a press industry career along your lines, what would that be?

Try to enter the industry by being flexible in what job you should take. As long as your are "in" you will further on get the opportunity to switch to the job you really want. And, I must say experience in sales is always good and also the easiest way to get in to the business. People who know how to generate money are always popular!

Final words for our readers?

People who create a fun and inspiring environment and good relations are always more productive and will get a faster and more dynamic career.

Thanks Christian for an interesting interview and a great lecture!

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